Plan for the worst, hope for the best: Trade show edition

ASIS 2016 was another successful security industry event for us. We had a good show and it was great to catch up with all of our industry friends.

This year, some vendors noted that the show seemed to be quiet, attendance-wise. Some of the exhibitors who are more concerned about the number of leads than the quality of leads may have been troubled with what seemed to be a lower attendee number. This brings up an interesting point about those trade shows that don’t go quite the way you hoped they would: while you can’t always make everyone happy, you can do a better job of planning so that you get the most out of events even when they don’t turn out as well as you had hoped.

Here are five tips to help you maximize the results from your next trade show:

  1. Make sure to stay in touch with industry contacts all year round and keep track of who will be at the show (including which booth number, suite or conference room) so you can network when there is downtime. LinkedIn is a great resource to do this.
  2. Literally map out vendors beforehand. You should include all those who have caught your interest but who you never had a chance to visit in the past. Thumb through some of the industry trade magazines and sites to stay up on the new and improved technology, and then visit their booths to get a demo at the show.
  3. Do some online research about the city where the show will be and make dinner or drinks meet-up reservations for your work crew, clients and industry friends. Stay away from the ‘closest to the show’ spots and try out some local favorites or newly opened locations.
  4. Walk the floor. Take note of the exhibitors’ branding, graphics, logos, tag lines, product names, etc. This will help you to better understand your industry, whether you’ve been in it for years or if it’s a new industry for you. This is also a great way to ensure you’ll run into old colleagues and acquaintances, giving you more chances to network.
  5. Finally, go ahead and grab some swag. You don’t have to dump the entire bowl of mints into your bag, but it’s okay to pick up a couple of pens, highlighters, stress balls or various other giveaways. You can say it’s for the kids, even if you know full well it’s for you.

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About the Author: Sara Chaput

Sara Chaput

Sara is the Vice President of Public Relations at LRG Marketing Communications.